Walking at Your Desk

Many health professionals find patients unable or unwilling to heed medical advice, often challenged to achieve a minimum level of physical activity. While the surgeon general recommends a minimum health standard of 10,000 steps per day (5 miles), the average American walks less than one-third of this amount. Chiropractic care often becomes merely a stopgap measure when patients remain seated for 10 to 14 hours a day.

Walking helps prevent low-back pain and has been proven an effective augmentative treatment. A study conducted by UCLA researchers reported in the 2005 issue of the American Journal of Public Health showed walking briskly for three hours per week to be more effective (less pain, disability and psychological distress) than engaging in specific lower-back exercises.
Chiropractors often prescribe walking for low-back pain; however, patients are challenged to keep moving because of two major constraints, uncovered by a National Institutes of Health study: lack of time and lack of motivation. So, if sedentary lifestyles are the root cause of many obesity-related diseases and neuromuscular conditions, what is the solution? The simple answer is to get patients up and moving during the day; however, due to current lifestyle constraints, this proves problematic.

A company in Phoenix has designed an affordable solution: the TrekDesk Treadmill Desk. Designed to fit virtually any treadmill, TrekDesk is a height-adjustable workstation that gives people the opportunity to take 10,000 steps in three to four hours a day. “Medical professionals now have a means of prescribing activity that fits into the lifestyles of their patients without requiring additional time out of their day or a daily test of willpower,” says TrekDesk founder Steve Bordley.

To learn more about TrekDesk, ACA News talked to Bordley.

What do you hear from customers who switch to a TrekDesk?
Bordley: Everyone is different, dependent upon their level of fitness. David Lee, featured in our CNN video, is an avid marathon runner and wanted a TrekDesk so that his hip flexors would not freeze up during the day from sitting in chairs. However, my favorite story is of a self-described short, overweight, uncoordinated customer who was blind in one eye and was too self-conscious to go to the gym. Since she had depth perception issues, she took a few days acclimating, adding walking in slow increments, no more than 15 minutes a day.

We designed TrekDesk specifically for the home office market, but were surprised to find about 25 percent of our orders are used by corporate offices. No specific occupation seems to use it more than others, with the exception of attorneys; we do seem to sell more in this channel.

How does the desk work?
Bordley: The desk fits over virtually any existing treadmill. Installation is very easy and takes 45 minutes to an hour. Individuals can adjust the desk to their specific height, so that their posture is ergonomically correct. The TrekDesk also includes two cup/utility holders for water bottle, pens, pencils or keys; a manuscript stand to hold magazines, books and papers upright for reading; and a four-level file/phone tray to stay organized and keep your phone in close proximity and off of the desk.

What are the benefits of using a TrekDesk?
Bordley: The benefits are so numerous. We sound like we are selling snake oil when we list them, but they are backed by solid medical evidence. Here is a list: www.trekdesk.com/Treadmill_Desk_Benefits.html.  

The number of calories burned depends on your weight, speed and incline grade of the treadmill. I walk on an incline setting of 6 and vary my speed between 1.2 to 1.5 mph and burn between 290 to 330 calories per hour. Customers walk anywhere from 1 mph to 2 mph generally, but the incline allows them to double the calorie burn without increasing the speed.

Are there contraindications to using the desk?
Bordley: Anyone who has contraindications specific to walking should consult with a physician. The safety advice we stress is to not let infants near the treadmill during operation, to keep the area behind you free of obstacles, and to keep your treadmill emergency stop key in close proximity.

For More Information
In an “activity-challenged” nation, TrekDesk seems to have hit a resonant chord. Featured in the past few months on CNN, Fox News, NBC, ABC, CBS and NPR, TrekDesk has accelerated the debate regarding inactivity and our nation’s need to change course.  

TrekDesk is available for sale online at www.trekdesk.com for $479, including free shipping. Chiropractic practices with Web sites can join TrekDesk’s commissionable affiliate program and offer TrekDesk to their patients directly.

For more information on weight control, go to www.acatoday.org/NCHM.


Published in the October 2010 issue of ACA News.